Toilet paper saw incredible sales in the early days of the pandemic when consumers rushed to stock up on the essential product, leading to a 58% increase in bathroom tissue sales year-over-year in March and April. At the same time, Kimberly-Clark, parent company of Cottonelle, was up 45% in profits, with its products selling out across the country.
But as demand works its way back down to normal, the brand is looking for creative ways to continue to reach consumers.
Cottonelle snatched up just such an opportunity to market its toilet paper through the video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has become a popular pandemic pastime. The game recently gave characters the ability to go No. 2—and Cottonelle took advantage of the shift, creating bathroom wall patterns and offering prizes to players who download them on their Nintendo Switch, follow Cottonelle on Twitter and post a picture on the app with #downtherecare and #offer, tagging @Cottonelle.
Artist and gamer T-Pain, known online for his Animal Crossing island (his virtual home is fit for a Grammy-winning performer’s lifestyle), will be marketing the hashtag inside the app to other players. He will also visit other virtual islands and check out the redecorated bathrooms.
There are four contest entry periods total between July and August. The first 125 qualifying participants within each period receive a $2 coupon that can be used on combined purchases of toilet paper and flushable wipes.
The social media campaign is an extension of the original “Down There Care” series of spots launched in 2019 that marketed TP and wipes as self-care products.
Ken Champa, senior brand manager at Cottonelle, said the messaging urges consumers to rethink how they approach their bathroom purchases by “opening an honest dialogue and highlighting the importance of a superior clean that leaves you feeling clean, fresh and confident.”
The idea is receiving mixed results on Twitter, with some participants sharing the fun they had decorating their virtual bathrooms, with others criticizing the brand for expecting users to put in the effort of redecorating for one coupon.
This is the latest campaign launched by Cottonelle since the onset of the pandemic. A previous ad, #ShareASquare, encouraged consumers not to hoard their TP. The brand also donated $1 to the United Way Worldwide Covid-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund every time the hashtag was used on social media up to $100,000, along with $1 million worth of toilet paper.
Cottonelle isn’t the only brand to use Animal Crossing as a marketing platform. Gillette Venus debuted its Summer Skinclusive Line on the game, encouraging women to embrace the diversity of their skin types with their characters. Marc Jacobs and Valentino both released virtual outfit designs. Even the Monterey Bay Aquarium has hosted Twitch livestream tutorials on the aquatic life seen in the game.
Don't miss Brandweek Masters Live, Sept. 14-17, a fully reimagined virtual experience assembling the foremost brand marketers for 4 days of main stage insights, Masterclasses and more. Secure your pass before rates increase on 9/2.